Mass Incarceration In America
Overcrowding and Overuse of Imprisonment in the United States. Retrieved from https://www. ohchr. org/Documents/Issues/RuleOfLaw/OverIncarceration/ACLU. pdf First, this journal starts by attempting to provide reasons for the overcrowding of correctional facilities in the United States. My assessment: The methods to reduce mass incarcerations as stipulated by this text has proven to be a success in some states including New York, Michigan and California. For instance, the state of New York has recorded a whooping 25% decrease in prison population after implementation of the “Smart on Crime” initiative in 2014. Therefore one of the ways in which overcrowding in prisons can be controlled is by developing different schemes of running the Criminal Justice System in America in a bid to rectify what the already working system gets wrong.
Entry 2 : Raphael, S. How Do We Reduce Incarceration Rates While Maintaining Public Safety?. There was a lot of Pressure from Federal Courts in California to reduce or easen the population in the state's correctional facilities. In the text, comparison is made with Italy which implemented the Collective Clemency Bill in 2006. The state of California enacted a legislation under the banner of corrections realignment which came into force on October 1st 2011. The said legislation revokes some of the criminal justice practices in the state which includes sending parolees back to prison due to minor technical offences. Other objectives of the legislation include to divert nonserious and nonsexualoffences toa different mode of punishment rather than imprisonment such as community services and probation. pdf Laureen Brooke first acknowledges the alarming rate of incarceration in the United States Prison.
She starts by mentioning that the population of the entire United States of America is less than 5% of the world’s total population but with regards to prisoners, United States’ prisoners make up 25% of the world’s population of prisoners. According to Laureen, 39% of prisoners are unnecessarily locked up which makes for about 580,000 prisoners, 25% of those are imprisoned for non serious offences and around 14% are locked up due to serious offences but have already served an unnecessarily long term of imprisonment and are with little or no chances of being released, thus congesting the correctional facilities. If these prisoners are released, that is the 39% referred to in the paragraph above, the government would save up to approximately $20 Billion annually with regards to accommodation expenses.
Laureen further gives suggestions on how such expenses could be directed towards more convenient courses which include payment of teachers and employment of new probationary officers. Retrieved from https://csd. wustl. edu/Publications/Documents/WP14-31. pdf This paper emphasizes that the main solution to mass incarceration is simply decarceration. However, this is easier said than done. This means that the two discussed initiatives above should not only be experimental but should be adopted into the criminal justice system. This would assist in preventing the crime in the first place rather than trying to deal with the offenders after the crime has already been committed. It is the last and most important element of decarceration as it is the one that solidifies the solution for the betterment of the future of correctional facilities in the United States.
My Assessment: This paper gives a more detailed approach to the solution of the problem of mass incarceration. What is most important is how the states will maintain a positive result once it is achieved and prevent a problem from arising again in the future. These costs may be in form of damages property, stolen goods and hospital expenses for victims of crimes. However the situation changes when it comes to punishment of offenders. There has been a mass increase of population in prisons since the 1970s and 1980s. Researchers have found out that an increase in the rate of arrests and incarcerations have lead to a decrease in the rate of crime in the society. However, as ironic as it may sound, a decrease in the rate of crime through incarcerations is not proportional to the rate of crime reduced.
, Grawert, A. , & Camhi, N. A FEDERAL AGENDA TO REDUCE MASS INCARCERATION. Brennan Center For Justice. Retrieved from https://www. The President of the United States cannot create a new grant program or override existing conditions but can however give an executive order directing the grant recipients to be more accountable to the use of funds in the mission to reduce the rate of crimes as well as improve the conditions of correctional facilities. Lastly is the Judiciary. This may be the arm of government that is largely concerned and directly associated with the problem of mass incarceration. The prosecution as well as the Judges in the criminal justice system may recommend alternative methods of punishing and rehabilitating wrongdoers apart from prison sentences therefore easing the burden of prison population.
My Assessment: Tackling a problem that spans decades will need the combined efforts of the entire government which involves making laws and implementing said laws. With comparison to the European Union, the rate of incarceration in the United States in 2009 was over 700 per 100,000 whereas in the entirety of the European Union, the rate is around 100 per 100,000 which was the rate for America from 1925 to 1980. This report examines the impact of mass incarceration in the United States. When more arrests are made, there is decrease in the rate of crime in the streets. However, when the rate of arrests goes overboard, it changes and becomes mass incarceration. This therefore has little impact towards reducing the rate of crime in the streets. Despite political atmosphere in the United States, the issues concerning the Criminal Justice System in the country have a achieved a general sense of consensus among both Democrats and Republicans.
Therefore, many political and policy professionals agree that it is high time to address the problem. The Obama administration attempted to tackle the problem. During his term as President of the United States of America, President Obama released prisoners under his own authority hence commuting close to 90 prison sentences. Further, due to actions taken by the United States Sentencing Commission, he was able to release another 6000 inmates. law. berkeley. edu/files/csls/Simon_Introduction_Mass_Incarceration_on_Trialedit(1). pdf The state of California is currently undergoing what most would consider the greatest change in the last forty years and this is in form of policies that seek to regulate the population in correctional facilities in the country. By the words of Jonathan Simon, California went from being a Midwestern State like Minnesota or Michigan at around 1970 and became a Southern state like Alabama.
MTC Institute. America’s Mass Incarceration Problem Can Prison Contractors Actually Be Part of the Solution?. Centerville: Management & Training Corporation. In this text, the writer begins by giving us a real life example of an incarcerated man known as Paul. Paul had grown up in rough parts of Houston and like many young men from that region, he got caught up with the trafficking and usage of drugs. More than 30 states in the country have enacted policies set to control the population of prisons. The policy of all states with regards to the Justice System should be safety and rehabilitation rather than safety and punishment. Entry 11. Communities United. The Cost of Mass Incarceration and Criminalization, and How Justice Reinvestment Can Build a Better Future for All.
My Assessment: As suggested by the report, the Justice system should stop working in ways that increases burden for itself. The government should reinvest by looking at the root cause of crime and violence and address the issue at a community level rather than in federal courts and in prisons. Entry 12. Gamblin, M. Mass Incarceration: A Major Cause of Hunger. Secondly, the problem of mass incarceration can be attributed to the broad perspective and definition of crimes. This means that the United States government expanded the number of criminal offences and also increased the sentences to petty offences. This has not only increased the number of incarcerations but also the number of individuals with criminal records. My Assessment: It seems that the most ideal approach to tackling the issue is review of policies that define crime, prosecute crime and provide for prison sentences, especially with regards to drug related and other petty offences.
Entry 13. Therefore, reforms in the Criminal Justice System may not achieve the result they intend to achieve without the input and contribution from such individuals. Elected officials have the power and discretion whether to stop, search, arrest, fine, divert, or charge someone and how long a sentence should be sought. My Assessment: We should stop focussing all the attention to the federal and the state government and attempt to deal with the problem at the local level of governance. Elected officials have power over the process of criminalization hence they may also be of much assistance in the war against incarceration. Entry 14. Secondly, a mentality has developed associating African Americans to more violent crimes and arresting them in numbers has been nicknamed ‘rounding up the usual suspects’.
They are more suspected for committing violent crimes more than any other race in the country’s population and this form of discrimination has stretched over to judges and prosecution hence harsh sentences for mostly drug related offences. My Assessment: Policies should be put into place to fighting the ‘War against drugs’ in a different way rather than locking up offenders, most of whom are African American. Further, the state should focus on directing resources such as education as training towards poverty stricken communities to avoid the instances of getting into crime. Entry 15. Further, as mostly referenced by this paper, the Criminal Justice System has been designed in a way that, the best way to punish drug users is by locking them in prison cells.
My Assessment: This leads to the question; does harsher prison sentences help in assisting drunk drivers or drug users or do they just form a basis for removing them from the society? Who is being assisted more, the drunk driver or the society? In my opinion, by imprisoning such offences, neither the drunk driver nor the society benefits. Rehabilitation programs should be put in place as it is in rare occasions where incarcerated individuals learn the morals from their mistakes while in prison. Secondly, there should be training institutions which would assist people to understand the real issue thus protecting them from committing crimes in the future. Entry 16. They view criminal activities as a way to deal with domestic problems like addiction, family problems, problems with intimate partners or all of the above.
Crime by women can be largely viewed as a survival strategy with relation to the problems women face in the society. Therefore, these women who venture more into crime get arrested and thus the prison populations in the federal and state women’s prisons. My Assessment: One of the research lacking involves how mass incarceration affects the lives of women. Most women who are in prison have children and lives outside the prison facilities and the motive of committing crime may be different from that of men. 7758/9781610446761 Mass incarceration has had negative effects towards families. This book explains how mass incarceration has drastic effects towards families. The increase in arrests and incarcerations has shown that there has been an increase in the rate of divorces as one partner spends close to half of his/her life in prison.
This also means that there has been an increase in the rate of non marital childbearing which has drastically risen in the last decade. Further, more children grow up without the proper care of both parents as one parent may be incarcerated. edu/Departments/Economics/Faculty/Glenn_Loury/louryhomepage/cvandbio/Loury-Western%20Daedalus%20Introduction. pdf According to the writer in this text, mass incarceration has grown to be part of America’s social policy. This form of punishment regime has been widely accepted by most if not all Americans including the incarcerated. Most individuals in crime know as some dread their ultimate fate when the law catches up to them which is imprisonment. This acceptance is due to the fundamental significance that the incarceration policies have towards the formation and development of modern America.
, & Basti, V. Capitalizing on Mass Incarceration U. S. Growth in Private Prisons. Retrieved from https://www. Therefore, a lot of petty offences will be treated with unnecessary harshness in the name of privatization of prisons. There are however possible solutions to this problem. One is to expand transparency requirements. This means that jurisdictions which liaise with private correctional facilities should be open and transparent with regards to private inquiry on their facilities. Another way is to eliminate incarceration of immigrants in state and federal prisons. In Fact in the period between 1970 to 2015, the prison population in New Jersey has increased by 278%. In this report, there are several ways proposed in which we can control the rate of incarcerations and prison population in prisons in New Jersey.
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